Farming System Approach for Sustainable Development of Agriculture in Mountain Regions — A Case of Himachal Pradesh

This paper has examined the emerging issues, extent of transitions and their implications for the sustainable and balanced development of agriculture in the mountain areas of the country. The study undertaken in low and mid-hill regions of Himachal Pradesh is based upon the data collected during the period 2002-03 from 200 sample households selected from 10 villages, representing five major mountain farming systems (MFS), viz. maize-based, paddy-based, vegetable-based, fruit-based and livestock-based. It has been found that over a period of time lot of changes have taken place in the socio-economic milieu and agricultural practices in mountains. The cropping pattern, extent of diversification and commercialization have been found to vary considerably across different MFS. A high degree of externalities has developed particularly under vegetable- and fruit-based farming systems. The proportion of purchased inputs has increased while the share of farm-produced inputs (own seeds, FYM, family labour, bullock labour, feed and fodder, etc.) has decreased. Thus, the system interlinkages and in-built complementary relations among sub-systems are getting distorted with commercialization through vegetables and fruits. The shortage of fodder, decrease in the number of farm animals and thus FYM-scarcity, are the burgeoning signs of unsustainability, particularly on vegetable- and fruit-based systems. Therefore, the sustainable plans developed for different systems have revealed the possibility of increasing profitability by optimum combination of sub-components like cereals, pulses, vegetable crops, fruits, fodder resources and livestock and thus maintaining the crucial balance to harness in-built complementary relations of the sub-systems. The increasing externalities in the MFS clearly show the crucial role of markets and marketing in the agricultural development that needs greater policy support in future.

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Agricultural Economics Research Review, 19, Conference
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-11-30

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